17. US Cup 99; San Diego, Calif.; March 13 1999: Mexico 2, US 1
The United States badly wanted some redemption. Although the national team was in a transitional period, a bad loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup 98 final was still fresh in the minds of the Americans. U.S. coach Bruce Arena was in the infancy of his national team days and was meeting Mexico for the first time. Meanwhile, Manuel Lapuente’s team came into the match with their usual swagger and primed to win their third consecutive US Cup. Played before more than 50,000 fans at Qualcomm Stadium, Mexico opened the scoring early thanks to a Robin Fraser own goal. The match got bloody when, as Fraser sent the ball into the goal, Francisco Palencia knocked goalkeeper Tony Meola out of the match. The then-Cruz Azul man bloodied Meola’s face, and leaft him with a gash that required 25 stitches to close. Hometown hero Frankie Hejduk pulled the United States even with a 51st minute goal but Jose Manuel Abundis scored the match-winner off a close-range rebound as Meola’s replacement Zach Thornton could do nothing to stop Abundis from point blank range.
United States: Tony Meola (Zach Thornton, 17); Jeff Agoos, Robin Fraser, Eddie Pope (Ben Olsen, 68), David Regis; Eddie Lewis (Clint Mathis, 83), Chris Armas, Jovan Kirovski, Frankie Hejduk; Cobi Jones, Brian McBride
Mexico: Oscar Perez; Joel Sanchez, Pavel Pardo, Salvador Carmona (Miguel Zepeda, 46), Joaquin Beltran; Raul Rodrigo Lara, Alberto Garcia Aspe, Rafael Garcia (Ramon Ramirez, 60), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Luis Hernandez, 46); Francisco Palencia, (Paulo Cesar Chavez, 57), Jose Manuel Abundis (Ricardo Pelaez, 77)
Mexico - Own goal (Fraser) 17
US - Hejduk 51
Mexico - Abundis 57